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US professional lobbyist attacks organics

November 9, 1999

US professional lobbyist attacks organics

The visit of an American lobbyist campaigning against organic agriculture is a worrying development so close to New Zealand's general election, Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

"Dr Denis Avery, who spoke extensively on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report this morning, and then on Midday Report, has links to a United States industry-sponsored lobbying organisation called the Hudson Group, as I understand it," Mr Ewen-Street said. "Because he is so clearly targetting the Green Party and its success in promoting organic agriculture, we are trying to find out more about his organisation and why he is here."

Mr Ewen-Street, an organic farmer based in Marlborough, who is number three on the Greens' party list, said that in advocating the use of fertiliser, pesticides and genetically engineered food, Dr Avery "was clearly trying to counter the huge consumer demand for organic food around the world". "He is also trying to undermine the New Zealand Green Party's popular call for more government resources into organics, which have the potential to be the real salvation for New Zealand agriculture - benefits on a similar scale to the introduction of refrigerated ships last century," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"Demand for organics is rising exponentially and far outstrips our ability to supply. High premiums are being paid for fully certified products - i.e. those guaranteed to contain no chemical residues, no growth hormones, no antibiotics and no genetically engineered ingredients.

"Dr Avery claims we need fertilisers and pesticides and GE food to feed 8.5 billion people without destroying vast areas of wildlife refuge. The truth is that we already produce more than enough food, but the problem is equity of distribution. We have butter mountains, wine lakes, etc but there are still starving people in the third world. GE crops do NOT increase food supply or improve nutrition - quite the opposite.

"Dr Avery also claims organics have caused food poisoning. He may be referring to an isolated case, but his argument is essentially rubbish. Consumers are demanding certified organic food because it is their ONLY guarantee of quality. The sole profiteers from overuse of fertilisers, pesticides and other agri-chemicals are the chemical companies."

Ian Ewen-Street Ph/Fax 03-577-7593 or 03-579-8003 Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary 021 214 2665


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